Saturday, October 3, 2015

Non-Fiction Literacy Center

First, a disclaimer, I cannot take credit for this idea.  I read a blog post by Leslie over at Kindergarten Works and my wheels started turning.  I want my students to have a love of non-fiction and as an end of the year kindergarten goal I want them to be able to write a well organized paragraph regarding a non-fiction topic.  (You may be saying, "Yeah right Kerry, the majority of my class doesn't know their letters.  And you are talking about paragraphs!!!)

So how do you take non-literate children and expect them to create anything meaningful at a non-fiction center?  Let's start with circle thinking maps.  My class has done several circle thinking maps as class through Alphabet Boot Camp.  So my students were already very familiar with creating them.  We created some class samples and talked about my grading expectations.

I have supplied the center with lots of books on particular topics; sorted into bins.  These bins will be changed out about once a month (or when I see interest in a particular topic dwindling).  With these books students are learning to look for captions or scan the text to find the words to label their pictures.  (MOST of my students are not there yet.)  

 For students in need of more support, I have also included vocabulary pages (in a small binder in page protectors).  Now, everyone who is able to copy words can be successful at creating their circle map.
 I opened this center just a short 2 weeks ago and I had a kid (not even from my highest reading group) create a level 4 paper!!!!!  Can you say proud teacher???

So where do I go from here?  All the older maps will still be available for students to continue to work on; but I will be introducing new ones as the year goes on.  Here is what I am thinking my yearly timeline might look like...

For the next few months I will continue to let my students work on circle maps and help them develop stronger sentences.

December-January- In order to write a paragraph on one topic, students will need a narrower view.  I will introduce a bubble map.  With this map students will need to be able to read a book on one particular topic.  (Here I am expecting them to be early readers an be able to pull information from a simple text.)  Students will use the center of the bubble map to write their topic and then use the bubbles for details or adjectives.  From their bubble maps students can write a sentence and start writing paragraphs.

March- April- In the Spring I will introduce sequencing and the use of flow maps.  The books I put into the non-fiction center will be deliberate choices- life cycles and how things are made.  At this point, most students will be able to read and comprehend the simple texts.  Students will be able to use their flow map to write a paragraph on their chosen topic.

What are you thoughts or suggestions about this center?  What is something you do in your classroom to get your students working with non-fiction?